Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins: Who Is Really No. 1?

Hayden DeitrickFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins: Who Is Really No. 1?

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    When Andrew Wiggins reclassified himself as a member of the recruiting class of 2013, he usurped Jabari Parker for the No. 1 ranking on ESPN’s Top 100 Recruits list.

    It is not often the case that two players this special come out of the same recruiting class.

    To put things into perspective, scouts are ready to claim that both are the next LeBron James. Others are ready to claim that they will start their first seasons in the NBA. 

    Both players are highly rated, but only one can truly be the top recruit.

    Which player will have a more successful college career?  Which will have a better NBA career? 

    While a lot more than just high school play will determine these players’ futures, a lot can already be said about these future stars.

Jabari Parker's Highlight Reel

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    To get a better sense of Jabari Parker's game, check out his highlights from the Peach Jam.

    Notice that Parker seems to get to the rim with ease.  

    When he is within one step of the basket, he has fantastic footwork that allows him to maneuver to a spot where he can get his shot.

Jabari Parker’s Strengths

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    One ESPN analyst wrote that Jabari Parker’s greatest strength “lies in his versatility as he displays many skills on the floor.”

    In other words, his greatest strength is that he has so many strengths.

    Parker shows incredible patience on the offensive side of the basketball.  The game just seems to come naturally to him.

    Parker is incredibly efficient from everywhere on the court.  When he is not blowing past defenders to finish at the rim, Parker is shooting over smaller defenders from mid- to long- range.

    One of the newer facets of his game is his back-to-the-basket post-up skill set that he utilizes against smaller, weaker defenders.

Parker’s Weaknesses

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    There are not too many flaws in Parker's game.

    Parker must continue to work on his defense, especially out to the perimeter.

    Scout.com lists strength as one of his main areas for improvement.

    Over his high school career, Parker has trimmed his frame to maximize his efficiency as an athlete.

    As Parker transitions to the college game, he must add strength to his frame or he will not be able to dominate defenders as he does so easily in high school.

Parker's Pro Comparison: LeBron James

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    Many have claimed that Parker is the best prospect since LeBron James. 

    This claim is only made more sound by the fact that Parker’s style of play is a lot like that of LeBron.

    Parker, like James, can play all five positions and has a very well-rounded game. 

    While Parker gets a lot of attention for his ability to dunk on command, his game transcends his highlight reel.

    Parker’s main strength is getting to the lane, and when he gets there, his go-to moves are the same as LeBron’s. 

    He can finish at the rim in a variety of ways, pull up for a jump shot, post up a defender and, yes, finish with a monster jam.

Andrew Wiggins Highlight Reel

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    Check out Andrew Wiggins in action in this highlight reel.

    One thing that struck me is Parker's ability to change his shot in mid-air.

    Also, look as Wiggins seems to plan out his moves before he gets the ball.  By the time Wiggins receives the ball, he has already beat two defenders it seems.

Andrew Wiggins’ Strengths

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    Wiggins is a remarkable athlete with long arms and a great frame.

    When he jumps, Wiggins seems to be able to elevate his chest over the rim.  This leads to fantastic finishing around the rim and monster slam dunks.  

    His great leaping ability makes him a great rebounder as well.

    Wiggins can step back and shoot the long ball and is a proficient free-throw shooter as well. 

    His ability to convert at the charity stripe is important because, as a slasher, he gets fouled often around the basket.

    Wiggins has many different shots in his repertoire. 

    He can do just about anything from the triple-threat position, and he can elevate for jump shots off the dribble or finish at the rim.

Wiggins’ Problems

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    Beyond problems with pick-and-roll passing and passing out of a double-team, there isn't much that inhibits Wiggins’ game.

    One ESPN analyst said that Wiggins “must continue to be a competitor every time he steps out on the floor and expect to dominate.”

    This speaks more to Wiggins’ overall strengths that his greatest weakness has nothing to do with skill.

    If Wiggins can learn to control games and take over as the most talented player on the floor, he will shine even brighter at the next level.

Wiggins' Pro Comparison: Kevin Durant

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    Wiggins has a very similar build to Kevin Durant.

    While Wiggins, like Durant, is seen as a bit lanky, he has the same upside that made scouts forget about Durant’s shortcomings when he was a high school recruit.

    Wiggins has the same explosiveness that Durant now uses to blow past defenders. 

    If you watch highlights of Wiggins, you will see that he plays his best above the rim. 

    From alley-oops to converting and-ones, Wiggins has excellent body control that allows him to finish with ease.  This skill set is what has allowed Durant to win multiple scoring titles.

    Wiggins can also step back and hit jump shots.   Durant has used this range to take advantage of mismatched defenders who are either too short to guard his jump shot or too slow to stay in front of him.

Conclusion

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    At the end of the day, both Parker and Wiggins have their best basketball in front of them. 

    That is saying something considering that both have already reached a level that most players never quite attain.

    Looking at both players and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, it would appear that Andrew Wiggins is deserving of the No. 1 spot in the class of 2013.

    Wiggins seems to let the game come naturally to him and for this reason: I believe that his ceiling is higher than that of Parker.  With his incredible skill set and long wingspan, Wiggins is the type of player that gives defenders nightmares in a variety of different ways.

    Putting aside talk of tomorrow, a very real argument can be made that he is the better player today.  With very few flaws to his game, which seems to be second nature to him, Wiggins has a chance to be a very special player at the next levels.

    One thing is for certain: These two players will competing with each other to be the best for years to come.

     

    Who do you think is No. 1? Weigh in below in the comments section!